New Testament In a Year: July 27 – Acts 28

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Acts 28
(1-10) Paul on Malta
Even though there were soldiers, sailors, other prisoners, and natives on the island of Malta, it was Paul who gathered sticks to make a fire. He did not think he was above serving. Even after being unjustly imprisoned and surviving a storm, he looked out for the interests of others above his own. Paul’s faith in God was so strong, that he did not fear death at the hands of man or at the teeth of a viper. He was probably unconcerned about the viper fastening on his hand because he remembered that God had promised that he would bear witness of Him at Rome. He was not yet at Rome, so he knew that God would not let anything happen to him before His promise was fulfilled.

It was raining and cold and the natives of Malta were strangers to Paul and his companions, but Paul did not hesitate to do good among them. When he heard that Publius’ father was sick, he visited him, prayed with him, and healed him. Through the power of God, he also healed others who had diseases.

(17-31) Paul in Rome
For two years, Paul lived in Rome and bore witness of God just as God said he would. He preached salvation to Jews and Gentiles alike – some believed, others did not. He never let unbelief and disagreement shut him up though; he went on proclaiming the kingdom of God with boldness until his death. The Bible does not say, but historical tradition has it that Paul was tortured and then beheaded by Rome’s Emperor Nero in A.D. 67.

Favorite verse: (4) When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.”

New Testament In a Year: July 26 – Acts 27:27-44

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Acts 27:27-44
(27-38) The Storm at Sea
This time, when Paul told the centurion and the sailors not to do something (namely, leave the ship), they listened to him. Because of his calm confidence and unshakable faith in God, the sailors and soldiers felt like they could trust Paul. Even though he had assured them that no one would die from the storm, some of the sailors and soldiers were still afraid which is evidenced by their not eating. They heard Paul’s word, but they did not believe Paul’s word. Similarly, it is not enough for us to hear God’s Word and read His promises, we must also believe His Word and receive His promises in order to gain benefit from them.

(39-44) The Shipwreck
The ship was destroyed, but just as God had told Paul, no lives were lost.

Favorite verse: (34) Therefore I urge you to take some food. For it will give you strength, for not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you.”

New Testament In a Year: July 25 – Acts 27:1-26

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Acts 27:1-26
(1-12) Paul Sails for Rome
Even though he was a prisoner, God allowed Paul to find favor in the sight of centurion. He was treated kindly and allowed to go to his friends and be cared for.

(13-26) The Storm at Sea
Earlier, Paul had told the centurion, the pilot, and the owner of the ship, that they did not need to sail in the storm. They did not listen to Paul, and now they were stuck in a tempestuous northeaster wind and feared that death was near. In the midst of this discouraging time, Paul stood up and encouraged those around him to take heart. He assured them that no one would lose their life, because he had faith in God that everything would be exactly as God had told him. Paul was calm in the storm’s chaos because his faith was in his Creator, and he directed others to have faith in Him too.

Favorite verse: (25) So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told.

New Testament In a Year: July 24 – Acts 26

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Acts 26
(1-11) Paul’s Defense Before Agrippa
Paul was glad to make his defense before King Agrippa because it gave him an opportunity to share the Gospel before some of the most powerful rulers in that part of the world. The status and wealth of people did not prevent Paul from preaching Christ to them. He truly believed that salvation was available for all people – kings and queens, Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor.

Amid his defense, Paul asks Agrippa: Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead? Jesus said that all things are possible with God; therefore, it is not too hard for Him to do anything.

We can assume that it is with great regret that Paul told of his behavior before he came to faith in Jesus the Christ. Even though he was deeply religious and a very devout Jew, Paul’s relationship with God was not right. Instead of helping God’s people, he persecuted them. His raging fury drove him to put Christians in prison, put Christians to death, and try to make Christians blaspheme against God.

(12-32) Paul Tells of His Conversion
Paul now recounts his conversion experience to King Agrippa and the other rulers. On the road to Damascus, Paul is confronted by Christ who shows him that his actions which he thinks are right and pleasing to God, are actually dead wrong. In persecuting Christians, Paul is persecuting Christ Himself, and in persecuting Christ, Paul is persecuting God.

Christ tells Paul that He has called him for another purpose – a greater and more noble purpose than one of persecuting believers. Despite this confrontation, it was still Paul’s choice to accept the purpose Christ had for him. Paul could have rejected it and continued in his raging fury against God. He was not, however, disobedient to the heavenly vision; but submitted his life to Christ and allowed himself to be made a witness and a servant for the Kingdom. He fully accepted Christ’s purpose for him and was used to open the eyes of unbelieving Jews and Gentiles, to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to the power of God. Many received forgiveness of sins and received an inheritance among God’s people because of Paul’s obedience to Christ.

It was Paul’s earnest desire that King Agrippa, Bernice, Festus, and all others would become such as he was – a believer in Jesus the Christ, except for the chains that bound him.

Favorite verse: (25) But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking true and rational words.

New Testament In a Year: July 23 – Acts 25

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Acts 25
(1-12) Paul Appeals to Caesar
Paul was not afraid of dying. He was not in any way seeking to escape death. He did not care to die on false charges, however, so he appealed to Caesar.

(13-27) Paul Before Agrippa and Bernice
Just as Pilate did not find Jesus deserving of death, Festus did not find Paul deserving of death on account of his witness for Christ. Because of his boldness and faithfulness, God brought Paul before kings and queens because He knew that power and pomp would not intimidate Paul from sharing his faith.

Favorite verse: (12) Then Festus, when he had conferred with his council, answered, “To Caesar you have appealed; to Caesar you shall go.”

New Testament In a Year: July 22 – Acts 24

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Acts 24
(1-21) Paul Before Felix at Caesarea
Paul was happy to defend himself because he knew that he was not guilty of any of the accusations being brought against him. Tertullus called Christianity “a sect,” but Paul called it “the Way.” Jesus the Christ referred to Himself as the Way because by faith He is the way to salvation, truth, joy, peace, and eternal life.

(22-27) Paul Kept in Custody
Felix and his wife Drusilla heard Paul speak about faith in Christ Jesus. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that they themselves ever came to believe in Christ. Perhaps they were not expecting to hear about righteousness, self-control, and coming judgment. Perhaps they thought they had more time to make up their minds about their faith. 2 Corinthians 6:2 says, “Today is the day of salvation.” Tomorrow and no day in the future is promised to us; that is why we must urge others to make a decision about Jesus the Christ today.

Favorite verse: (17) Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the tribune, for he has something to tell him.”

New Testament In a Year: July 21 – Acts 23:16-35

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Acts 23:16-35
(16-22) A Plot to Kill Paul
Before Paul knew of the plot to kill him, the Lord told him, “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.” So when the son of Paul’s sister told him about the plot, Paul did not become upset or worried. He knew that God would look out for him and would keep him safe until he had accomplished the purpose he had for him. We too can be at peace in the midst of problems when we take courage and place our confidence in the promises of God.

Favorite verse: (17) Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the tribune, for he has something to tell him.”

New Testament In a Year: July 20 – Acts 23:1-15

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Acts 23:1-15
(1-11) Paul Before the Council
Paul did not think that living a life in good conscience justified him before God. He was not trying to imply that he was perfect or that he was never tempted to do wrong. With his first statement before the council, perhaps Paul was just trying to say that when his conscience convicted him of wrongdoing, he responded to it by immediately righting his wrongs. Despite the violent dissension that was created over him, the Lord remained by Paul and encouraged him. The Lord told him to “take courage,” because He had a plan for him to testify about Him not only in Jerusalem, but also in Rome.

Favorite verse: (3) Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Are you sitting to judge me according to the law, and yet contrary to the law you order me to be struck?”

New Testament In a Year: July 19 – Acts 22

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Acts 22
(1-20) Paul Speaks to the People
Paul shares his testimony of how Jesus changed his life. He used to be like the people in the mob who now sought to destroy him. He used to think that he was doing God’s will by persecuting the people of God. When Paul came to know Christ as his Savior, he received not only physical sight, but also spiritual sight. He came to realize that the true will of God was for him to be a witness for Him.

(22-29) Paul and the Roman Tribune
The people did not want to hear the rest of what Paul had to say, and he was taken away to the barracks. People are not always going to want to hear what we have to say about Jesus and how He changed our lives either, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to tell them.

Favorite verse: (14) And he said, ‘The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from his mouth.